Effect of radiative transfer on damped Lyα and Lyman limit systems in cosmological SPH simulations

Hidenobu Yajima, Jun Hwan Choi, Kentaro Nagamine

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39 Citations (Scopus)


We study the effect of local stellar radiation and ultraviolet background (UVB) radiation on the physical properties of damped Lya systems (DLAs)and Lyman limit systems (LLSs) at z = 3 using cosmological smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations. We post-process our simulations with the authentic radiation transfer (ART) code for radiative transfer of local stellar radiation and UVB radiation. We find that the DLA and LLS cross-sections are significantly reduced by the UVB radiation, whereas the local stellar radiation does not affect them very much except in the low-mass haloes. This is because the clumpy high-density clouds near young star clusters effectively absorb most of the ionizing photons from young stars. We also find that the UVB model with a simple density threshold for the self-shielding effect can reproduce the observed column density distribution function of DLAs andLLSs very well, and we validate this model by direct radiative transfer calculations of stellar radiation and UVB radiation with high angular resolution. We show that, with a self-shielding treatment, the DLAs have an extended distribution around star-forming regions typically on ~10-30 kpc scales, and LLSs are surrounding DLAs on ~30-60 kpc scales. The DLA gas is less extended than the virial radius of the halo, and LLSs are distributed over thesimilar scale to the virial radius of the host halo. Our simulations suggest that the median properties of DLA host haloes are Mh = 2.4×1010M, SFR= 0.3M yr-1, M* = 2.4×108M and Z/Z = 0.1. About 30 per cent of DLAs are hosted by haloes having SFR = 1-20M yr-1, which is the typical starformation rate (SFR) range for Lyman break galaxies (LBGs). More than half of DLAs are hosted by the LBGs that are fainter than the current observational limit. Our results suggest that fractional contribution to LLSs from lower mass haloes is greater than for DLAs. Therefore, the median values of LLS host haloes are somewhat lower with Mh = 9.6×109M, SFR = 0.06M yr-1, M* = 6.5×107M and Z/Z = 0.08. About 80 per cent of total LLS cross-section are hosted by haloes with SFR<1M yr-1, hence most LLSs are associated with low-mass haloes with faint LBGs below the current detection limit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2889-2904
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec 21


  • Evolution-galaxies
  • Formation-galaxies
  • High-redshift-galaxies
  • ISM
  • Numerical-galaxies
  • Radiative transfer-methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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